Survivor: Winners at War Recap (Episode 3, "Out For Blood")

Updated: May 1, 2020

"If these people are smart, they'll get rid of me right away. It's the smartest thing they can do, but they won't. They never do." - Boston Rob, Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains

They really never do vote out Boston Rob. Can anyone on Sele please explain why they didn't vote out Rob. All episode, the talk before tribal council was weakening Rob and his alliance, but doesn't voting Rob out weaken him even more? Do you really think you are going to paint Boston Rob into a corner that forces him to work with you by voting out his allies? That is not the game he plays. He is the Godfather and he isn't one to cede power easily. So why are we targeting his alliance members and not Rob? It's just astounding his tribe continues to let him slide by.

From a tribal perspective, Rob has not performed to his normal level during challenges. He failed this week at the puzzle during the immunity challenge, once again costing his tribe the challenge. "No" is an acceptable response when Rob offers to do puzzles, right? Because I am starting to think it may not be an option. Yes, he is a workhorse capable of providing shelter, food, and some strength in challenges, but this is a season of all winners who should be able to provide for themselves. I just don't understand the strategy.

The only logical reasoning for keeping him is his threat level makes him the ultimate meat shield. Who knows though, maybe Rob has built genuine relationships with most of his tribe and has more agency than the show is letting on. Either way, the talk of town should be about voting out Rob but his tribe seems terrified to actually make the move against him. Everyone does realize that he will win if he gets to the end, right? I do love Boston Rob and want to see him and Parvati go far, but common sense has to kick in at some point. Say what you will about Russell Hantz, but he knew to get rid of Rob when he had the chance.

This, of course, brings us to Ethan who was voted out for aligning with the biggest target, a victim of circumstances more than bad game play. Ethan's plan was clearly to find an alliance with a huge target and stick to it. This isn't too dissimilar to a strategy he employed in Africa, so I guess his biggest mistake was not being more adaptable. When Adam approached him about betraying Parvati, Ethan wouldn't even consider it. He wanted to play the loyal game, and his old school mindset ended up costing him.

I am genuinely sad to see Ethan go. I wasn't sure what to expect from him this season, considering his battle with cancer and the sixteen-year layoff from the game but he was a delight to watch. Unfortunately, he didn't do anything wrong. His game was brought down by his relationship with Rob and Adam's hubris. Now he will have to go to the Edge and figure out a way back in the game. If anyone will embrace the Edge of Extinction though it is Ethan. Even putting aside his personal life, Ethan survived one of the fiercest environments in Survivor history in Africa. The Edge should feel like a vacation at this point.

This week's vote will probably have long-standing implications moving forward. After what was already a tense day at camp, Sele is sure to be in disarray. Rob, Parvati, and Adam were all blindsided by the rest of their tribe. Ethan was also a strong ally of Robs', so this move isn't going to sit well with him. It will be interesting to see if Adam, who completely misplayed his hand this week, ends up being targeted next week (more on that in a second). Elsewhere...

Sandra Shark, doo doo doo doo

After the first episode, we haven't gotten a ton of time with Dakal. The ongoing implosion of Sele has taken up a majority of the screen time this season. What we have seen has been small moments of strategy and high jinks. This week was no different.

Sandra continues to play a more robust game this season. She is still playing the anyone but me card but is being more strategic about how she positions herself in the tribe. This season, Sandra is the provider. This is proving to be fruitful as she catches a shark in her fishing set up that almost bites off Tony's arm. Clearly Tony isn't a super fan of the show because he would know Survivor's history dictates he bite the shark back in retaliation, not run around scared for his life. Where is Richard Hatch when you need him!

This moment garners a ton of respect for Sandra from Yul. So when someone throws out her name, Yul has not problem going to Sandra with news that Tyson is targeting her. Anyone who knows Sandra will recognize that Tyson is now in her crosshairs. This works well for Yul and his alliance as Sandra, who is aligned with Tony and Sarah, will keep their focus on Tyson and Kim and doesn't realize a much larger threat is forming around them. Tyson has struggled to get his foothold this season, which is sad to see from such a charismatic player. If Dakal somehow finds itself at tribal council, then Tyson is in real trouble.

Stealth R Us

On the Edge, Amber, Danni, and Natalie are all provided clues to an advantage along with a rotating lock that will require each of them to find the correct number code to open it. The clue states they have everything they need in front of them to solve the puzzle. While the women seemed to remain fairly cooperative with one another, Amber eventually jettisons off, remembering the boxes where at the base of the Edge had numbers written all over them.

Amber has it wrong though and none of the numbers work. This is when a light bulb goes off in Natalie's head: the clue was referencing the string of shells that came along with the clue package. Natalie finds the advantage, making it the third in a row. Man, Natalie is killing it on the Edge on far. While getting voted out first sucks, she is best positioned to get back in the game at this point. If Jeremy can last to the merge as well, they could reunite with a lot of power and knowledge to help propel them to the end of the game.

The advantage that Natalie finds is a steal a vote. She offers it up to Sarah in exchange for in exchange for what is now her third Fire Token. How fitting, considering Sarah correctly played the same advantage during Game Changers. For Sarah to get the advantage though, she will have to sneak into the other tribe's camp to steal it from one of her fellow castaway's torches. This is an entertaining twist the show introduced last year that makes it a littler more difficult to get an advantage, To pull off the task, the police officer needs to call in some backup.

Enter Tony. As her partner, Tony makes sure she is well disguised with her buff covering most of her head and using fire ash to camouflage her from the other tribe. This cannot be overstated, but this moment was so wonderful. Tony is a great partner and I am certain he was hiding on the other side of the island ready to start making llama cries if he had to for Sarah to escape. Tony continues to be a source of humor this season, bringing a more focused sense of chaotic fun we grew to love during Cagayan. It is just hard not to enjoy him every time he is on screen. I cannot believe I am going to say this, but give us more Cops R Us!

Adam, what are you doing?

We cannot end this week's post without talking about Adam. To this point, Adam was well-positioned. He had a strong alliance with Denise and had successfully been playing the middle between the old school and the new school alliance. Surprisingly, a strategic mind like Adam's would make some of the biggest blunders a castaway can.

First, Adam approached Ethan about voting out Parvati, which was a no go. Then he told Rob the plan to vote out Parvati, going behind the back of the rest of the tribe. One of the fundamental rules of Survivor is to not tell someone about a blindside if they are being blindsided or are close to that person. Adam spent a majority of the episode confessing what he was doing didn't seem logical but he really thought it would work. The belief he could be in control while maintaining positive relationships with everyone was misguided at best. These moves showed Adam didn't have the pulse of his tribe like he thought and his hubris ended up getting the best of him.

Of course, Rob confronted Jeremy and Michele about the plan. The duo has been flying under the radar, similar to Sarah and Tony. They ended up holding all the power this week and used Adam's blunder to take control of the tribe. Pissed that he went behind their back. they correctly guessed that Adam thought he was in control. In response to talking with Rob, the duo wanted to knock him down a peg for playing both sides.

Using her social prowess, Michele was able to pull in Ben and Denise to formulate their own plan: vote out Ethan. Okay, here is where they lose me. The rationale seemed to be about 1) weakening Rob, 2) knocking Adam off of his throne while keeping him around as a vote, and 3) not shaking the boat by voting out Parvati. Let's quickly unpack all those.

First off, voting out Rob is a better way to weaken Rob. Once again, why is his name not even an option here, especially when he is the bigger strategic threat compared to Ethan. Secondly, they may have knocked Adam off of his pedestal, but at what cost? He probably won't appreciate being left out of the vote and he will flip sides after a merge or swap to save himself. Lastly, how is voting Parvati out rocking the boat? Rob still loses an ally and a major threat is out of the game. Quite frankly, Jeremy and Michele's best move is either voting out Rob or Parvati. This would anger the least number of people while maintaining their numbers advantage.

Alas, here we are. The least threatening and probably most trusting of the four options to be voted out went home. This season is seeing a high level of play from everyone but I am fearful some may be overthinking things a bit. This has made for some intriguing strategy so far though, leaving me more excited each passing episode.

Looking towards next week, Sele seems down and out at this point. I just don't see them being able to win immunity next week, so it will be interesting to see who goes to the Edge. At this point, you have to vote for Rob or Parvati. Adam may also be a logical choice as he has proven you cannot trust him. The way this season is going though, I wouldn't be surprised if we wake up next Thursday and somehow Rob, Parvati, and Adam are all still on the island.

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